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Financing High Performance Athletes


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Financing High Performance Athletes

  1. 1. Financing high performance athletes through national Sports Associations in Spain: comparative analysis with other European countries. Patricio Sánchez ( Angel Barajas (
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION  The mission of Sports Associations is governance, management, organization and regulation of sports under their tuition.  They have to manage the funds that they get from their activities or from Public Authorities.  Literature has focussed mainly on the effects of staging the Olympic Games or Major events. However, the field of high level sports funding is almost unexplored.
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION  DeBosscher et al. (2009) is one of the few studies that succeeded in testing a conceptual model of elite sport policy factors in an international context.  As for performance measurements see the document of the Audit Commission (2000) and AECA (2002).  Information about this topic can be found in the websites of the institutions related with the different programmes for financing sports in each country  in Spain: and;  in England: and;  in Italy: and; and,  in France:
  4. 4. AIM OF THE RESEARCH  The aim of this paper is to find out how Spanish Federations finance high level athletes.  To find if they use performance measures oriented to evaluate the socioeconomic return of the money spent on that kind of athletes.  Finally, to look for differences among the financing systems in England, France, Italy and Spain.
  5. 5. RESEARCH DESIGN AND DATA ANALYSIS  There are 59 National Sports Associations in Spain.  A questionnaire with open and closed questions was addressed to all of them.  The survey was carried out by phone in July, August and September 2008.  There was a response percentage of 62.7%, which can be considered satisfactory.  Ten Associations organize collective sports and the rest of them individual sports.  The general topic was the investment or expense that each Association spends high performance athletes.
  6. 6. RESEARCH DESIGN AND DATA ANALYSIS  We wanted to know if the Federation has a financing programme different from the ADO plan (in the case of Olympic Associations) or a specific budget for these athletes.  A filter question was set at the beginning to classify Associations.  Some control questions verify the quality and accuracy of the answers.  Qualitative questions about the goals and measure of performance complete the questionnaire.  Descriptive and comparative analysis among the financing systems in four European countries were carried out.
  7. 7.  Regarding the Spanish financing system:  The main source of fund for high performance athletes in each Association is the Superior Sports Council (Consejo Superior de Deportes, CSD).  Some Associations add money from their competitions, licences and public administrations.  Olympic Associations have alternative programmes for funding their high level athletes apart from ADO (Olympic Sport Association).  Associations mainly agree in two basic goals:  promotion of sport (33%) and  fostering sport practice (25%).  High competition is relevant as a goal for 11%. RESULTS
  8. 8.  All the Associations have a budget for funding high level athletes.  The goals for that budget are in summary:  achieving the highest number of prizes or  improve sports results.  Looking at the results of the qualitative part of the survey it is worth remarking that the second most important aim is reaching sponsorship agreements. This fact emphasises the relevance of financial issues for Federations. RESULTS
  9. 9.  80% of Associations consider highly relevant or relevant the number of licenses that they get as performance measurement.  On the contrary, a third of the Associations don’t consider relevant the percentage of population that practices sports. That is due to the difficulty of getting the information to check the achieving of the goal.  Qualifying for a great event is very relevant for almost 90% of the Associations but only 57.1% put stress in getting medals. RESULTS
  10. 10.  There are no remarkable differences among the financing system for high level athletes in England, France, Italy and Spain.  In every country an institution manages the financial aids for Sports Associations.  Selection of Olympic athletes is set according to their previous performance.  Athletes receive –through their corresponding Association- the money depending on that qualification. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS
  11. 11.  It will be interesting to analyse also the tax incentives for companies and the especial tax rules for these athletes.  This is an additional way for funding high level athletes.  Performance measures are not common among Spanish Federations, although they consider them as a useful tool in order to estimate the socio-economic return of money spent on the athletes.  This will be the subject for future studies.  Moreover it would be advisable to extend the questionnaire to the Federations in the other countries. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS
  12. 12. Thank you. Any question? Patricio Sánchez ( Angel Barajas (